Last updated: August 20, 2021

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This time we want to introduce you to the best Hubs on the market. Those that allow us to connect our USB devices, memory cards, and more, in a single hardware point with the greatest speed and efficiency.

Cloud storage has had an impact on the design of electronic devices, which are increasingly compact and free of cable connection ports. However, the need to connect devices with USB input, among others, can be met by a Hub connector. But what is the best Hub on the market?

We give you more than just a review, we want to help you and therefore, we will show you the most marketed hubs, their features and recommendations, so you know which one is perfect for you. In addition, we will show you the factors that you can compare, where to buy them and their value. Don't miss it!




Summary

  • It is a portable device that allows to expand the number of ports of a computer, television or other, becoming the central point to connect USB, USB-C, VGA, HDMI, memory cards, among others to a single terminal simultaneously.
  • There are different types of hubs which can be classified into three types: passive hub, active hub, and intelligent hub. Each one presents variations in their functions and number of ports, among others.
  • Among the relevant factors when comparing and choosing the hub that best suits your tastes, needs and electronic devices are: Number of ports, Weight, Durability, Power, Version, and Usage.

The Best Hub: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Many might choose a hub based on the number of ports or price, however, those who are computer savvy are aware of the many factors that go into making the right choice. Therefore, in the following sections you will find information to help you choose the right one for you.

Connect more devices to your computer with a hub. (Photo: Chainarong Chokrung / 123rf.com)

What is a hub and what are its advantages?

A hub is a portable device that allows you to expand the number of ports on a computer, television or other device, making it the central point of connection on a network simultaneously. Giving the device where it is connected, the ability to connect different types of ports.

Depending on their type, they can connect USB, USB-C, VGA, HDMI, memory cards, among others to a single terminal. There are more and more models and brands that offer a fast connection, however, these do not always ensure the power transmitted to each connected device.

In addition, they can connect a computer to a router or modem to enjoy the speed of an Ethernet network directly from the output source and in some models perform a diagnosis of the transmitted information. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of hubs.

Advantages
  • Portable
  • Increases the number of ports
  • Allows multiple connections
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • Only some are compatible with all port types
  • For short distances
  • Reduced speed on multiple connections

Passive, Active or Smart Hub - What should you pay attention to?

Technological progress in the manufacture of electronic devices has led to increasingly minimalist and compact products. In this respect, the trend in the production of computers with ever-smaller connection ports is growing.

Having a multi connector hub for the simultaneous use of devices is a great help, however, what not many people know are the functions they have depending on their type, which can be classified into three types: Passive Hub, Active Hub and Smart Hub. Below, we show you more details of each one:

Passive Hub. This type of hub only serves as a physical connection point. It does not have the ability to manipulate or view the traffic flowing between connected devices, it does not amplify or clean the signal and does not require electrical power.

Active Hub. Active hubs must be plugged into a power outlet as they require power to amplify the incoming signal before passing it to the other ports of the connected devices. They typically include 4, 8, 16 and 24 ports, providing LED lights to indicate operation.

Smart Hub. Also known as "smart hubs" function like active hubs, but also include a microprocessor chip and diagnostic capabilities. They are more expensive than active hubs, but are very useful in diagnosing network faults and isolating them.

Passive Active Smart
Power required No Yes Yes
Microprocessor No No Yes
Price Low Medium High

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different hub models

When choosing which product to buy, it is important to take into account features and functionalities that suit your tastes, and not choose solely on the design and price of the hub. Here are the main factors to consider in order to make a good purchase choice:

  • Number of ports
  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Version
  • Power
  • Version
  • Use

Number of ports

The number of ports or connection terminals that a hub contains is one of the determining factors when choosing one. This should be a function of the number of connections you need at the same time. You can find basic 4-port hubs and multi-port hubs with more than 4 ports.

Simple. The simple or basic hubs have a minimum of 4 connection ports, which are intended to increase the number of terminals in devices that have reduced terminals such as televisions and ultra portable computers.

Multi-port. These are those that have more than 4 ports, usually 8 or more. Hubs with this number of ports are designed for users who enjoy accessories or external devices such as mice, keyboards, hard drives and USB storage drives, allowing for increased connections to a computer.

When it comes to the number of connections, the decision will be based on your needs, however, we recommend that you keep in mind that the greater the number of terminals on the hub, the more external devices you will be able to use. However, the power flowing through it will be divided by the number of connections.

If you only want to add a couple of connections to your computer or TV, with a simple 4-pin hub you will have no problem with the strength and stability of the signal going from the source to the end ports at a low cost.

Choose the hub according to the number of additional connections you need. (Photo: alandi / 123rf.com)

Weight

Bearing in mind that this is an accessory that we will carry with us, it must have characteristics that allow us to use it easily, weight being a relevant factor when choosing. Here are some tips that we hope you will find useful.

Lightweight. The hub was designed as a complement, in this sense, it must provide not only comfort when using it, but also when transporting it with your laptop or other devices. We recommend you opt for models that do not exceed 250 g.

Compact. It should be easy to carry in your laptop bag. If you choose a model that integrates as many connectors as possible, you may find that using several at once is not comfortable because of their layout. Pay attention to how the connectors are distributed on the adapter.

Durability.

Buying a hub is an investment.

Buying a hub is an investment. Having a strong, durable hub is directly related to the materials it is made of. When choosing a hub, you should make sure that it has features that will give it an optimal lifespan so that you don't incur future expenses. Here are some buying tips.

Materials. In any type of hub, or connection device through which electrical energy passes, materials are important due to heat transfer. We recommend that you opt for those whose design facilitates cooling and whose materials dissipate heat, such as aluminium over plastics.

Durability. As a portable accessory, we recommend that you opt for one whose design and structure is not only pleasing to the eye, but also shock resistant. The solid structure that a hub can give you will reduce the risk of failure due to shocks, so we recommend you to opt for an aluminium one.

Power supply

The power supply of a hub is a factor that influences speed due to the power consumption required for each connection. USB hubs come in two types, power dependent and self-powered, each with features tailored to the devices you want to connect.

Dependent. This type of hub can be either passive or active. They draw power from the device to which they are connected to operate and are cheaper than self-powered hubs, however, they can be slower to transfer data because, as the name suggests, they rely on only one power source.

Self-powered. These are those that can operate independently such as smart hubs, where the USB connection to the computer is exclusively for data and the actual power for the hub, where the connected devices are drawn from a separate power source.

In case of connecting devices that require constant uninterrupted connection such as transferring data from a hard drive, we recommend opting for self-powered hubs. These will provide you with a more secure and trouble-free connection speed.

On the other hand, if you are looking to connect simple gadgets and devices with low power consumption, such as mice, keyboards and other accessories, a dependent power hub will give you good results at a low price.

You can use power dependent hubs for low-power accessories such as keyboards and mice (Photo: Maxim Krivonos / 123rf.com)

Version

This factor is directly related to the performance of a hub. Each iteration has introduced new features, the most notable being increased transfer speeds. Other features include battery charging specifications (introduced in USB 2.0 and updated in 3.0), and better data handling for connections.

The recommended base standard today is the USB 3.0 version, which has higher speed and performance than its USB 2.0 predecessor by increasing the power flowing through the port, making it possible to charge devices in less time, more securely, and with a fast and stable connection.

While there are still many hubs with USB 2.0 ports, the price difference with a USB 3.0 hub is negligible. So we recommend that you opt for hubs upgraded to UBS 3.0 and above, as their connection and data transmission speed is faster than that of their previous version.

Usage

Knowing how you will use the hub you want to buy could save you money.

Knowing how you will use the hub you want to buy could save you money. There are simple hubs - usually cheaper - whose ports can generate data transfer, and hubs with ports designed to power your mobile devices quickly. Below, we detail each of them.

With direct charging ports. Premium hubs often provide discrete non-data charging ports with 1A and 2.1A power. These add a dose of convenience when charging portable devices quickly and free you from using electrical outlets for each of your devices.

No direct charging ports. These generally come on the cheapest hubs and limit USB data output to a maximum of 500mA. While that's fine for maintaining data transfer or powering a device, it's not optimal for charging a power-hungry portable device like an iPad or smartphone.

In general, if you're just looking to transfer data we recommend opting for hubs without charging ports which are cheaper. However, if you're looking for a more comprehensive hub where you can charge your devices, the best option is one that integrates direct charging ports.

We suggest you pay attention to the use of the terminals, as it is easy to confuse data-only vs. power-only ports when similar cables are connected. Also, read the description carefully, specifying the number of ports of each type included in the hub.

(Featured image photo: Wisanu Boonrawd/ https://es.123rf.com)

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